As 2015 ended and 2016 began, I had written half of a novel. It shocked me. I was shocked to have written one sentence of a novel much less half of a novel. I was shocked by the experience of it. I was shocked by the freedom it generated.
I was shocked to find that I am actually what I’ve claimed to be all these years…a writer.
More interestingly I have found that each day as I sit down with my laptop to create, I have to speak one simple word to myself. The clarion call of my people. It is the one word that can catapult me from paralyzed to action.
When the words pour out, it is my job to catch them and preserve them in space and time. My fingers are the instruments of the wind, of Spirit, of inspiration, of ancient and modern storytelling. The written word can crush, inspire, and heal. I am a conduit of that possibility…one of so many who are, but one in my own right.
And sometimes when you write the best sentence ever, you want to stand up and cheer the creative force that moved in and through you. And other times you wonder why there aren’t more actual ways to say “purple.”
And still…a writer’s gotta write.
That daily reminder began to form itself in my mind as my next tattoo. Something I wanted inscribed for my own viewing pleasure on my index finger of my right hand…otherwise known as my write hand.
As I began to imagine this new tattoo, other words began to form themselves around me. Words that describe me. Words that are my heart. Words in need of inscription.
A silent and invisible girl turned into a girl with words. Not only written words but spoken words.
The girl became a woman who can preach. Give a talk. Lecture. Hand out instructions. Spontaneously break into a pep talk for her team. Stop an out of control meeting with the raise of a hand and a controlled tone. Offer a word to the hurting. Share her story. Speak to the stranger. Make others laugh on the elevator. And even yell her anger.
Words…written and spoken are my currency. I give and receive in them. I speak them often with much thoughtful selection. I try to filter them with genuine care for the receiver. I use them to create laughter. I sometimes throw and fling them about in experimentation and pure abandon.
I believe in something so much bigger than me that orchestrates the universe, holds gravity in its place, and that cares about helping me find significance and the words mentioned above. I don’t always know what to call what I believe in because certainty and equivocation have slipped away with experience, grace, and age. But I call on this being, thing, spirit, presence that I believe in in myriad ways at various times and in a plethora of languages from English to song to soul cries. I believe in this God and her mystery and his care.
I believe in humanity. I believe in the light of each person and the potential for that exchange of light in each moment. I believe in the possibility that each of us possesses and I believe that we are made of stardust and love.
I believe in sunshine…even when it is cloudy above me I believe that the sun is shining somewhere above those clouds and that it is just waiting to show itself at the right moment. And I believe in rain…in its steadfastness and its capacity to wash things away including my fear, doubt, and uncertainty.
I believe in the power of love, grace, mercy, integrity, kindness, compassion, and hope. These are not just words that I toss out that make me sound nice or spiritual. These are the words…the ones I fall back on when there is nothing else. I believe in the courage, the tenacity, and the pure bravery it takes to live life in the midst of these words and make them definitive markers of who I am.
I believe in laughter. The kind that rolls up from the center of who I am when babies giggle or my silly cat lies down across my path to enforce belly rubs. The laughter that comes from hearing the joy of another person. The laughter that rises out of me when my best friend says the things that only she knows can make me double over every time. It’s the space in me that is saved for my sister and her kids and the memories we have of completely reckless silliness. It is the banter between me and my favorite coworker that bubbles up into giggles and makes others laugh with astonishment at our ability to be inappropriate. It is crying, then laughing, then crying again with my prayer partner.
Believing makes me a whole person. A co-creator. A spirit having a human experience.
When you are a little human who wonders from her first memory exactly what she is doing here on this planet…when you begin in that sort of ethereal mindset…and when those ponderings are challenged by the fact that you think you might have been born to be misused at the hands of others, you learn to Be.
To be still.
To be alive.
To be small.
To be large.
To be yourself.
To be with yourself.
To be in conflict.
To be in peace.
And in learning to be, there comes a confidence in your own right to exist. To take up space. To be a real creature with real feelings and the right to words. The ability to be allows you to make space for others to be as well.
Be, Believe, Speak, & Write
I am 40 and these are my words.